It’s also playing in Rockhampton – just 40km down the road from Yeppoon.


“I’m really excited that this story is going home,” says Molloy.

Nick Skubij, the show’s director and co-adaptor (with Nelle Lee), discovered Fourteen in a Gold Coast bookshop in late 2019 and found it instantly relatable.

“We just thought, this has just got everything that you want in a play. It’s got all the adversity, the characters and the heart, and all to the soundtrack of these incredible ’90s pop songs,” Skubij says.

Following a performance of Fourteen in Port Macquarie last week, actor Conor Leach, who stars as Molloy, took part in a Q&A with audience members.

Judy Hainsworth, Conor Leach and Amy Ingram in Fourteen.

Judy Hainsworth, Conor Leach and Amy Ingram in Fourteen.Credit: Joel Devereux

“One student said they’d just moved to Port Macquarie because they’d been bullied for being queer in a remote town in New South Wales,” Leach says.

“It’s those moments where you tangibly feel how this story is reaching out to audiences.”

The play has not found a home everywhere it has been offered.

“It’s quite confronting to a lot of communities,” says Skubij. “Venues haven’t been able to present the show because they’re concerned about how the town will react.”


Says Molloy: “We’ve had towns where we can’t give away tickets because the schools are terrified about even suggesting to parents that they come to a show with queer themes in it.

“Things have changed, but we still have a long way to go.”

Molloy’s story details horrendous verbal and physical abuse by students of St Brendan’s College, but what is more shocking is the behaviour of the teachers.

One told him he would “go to hell”. A school counsellor advised him to “walk less gay”. And one teacher actively held him up to the ridicule of his peers.

A fashion show that Molloy masterminds offers him something to look forward to in Fourteen. Left to right: Leon Cain, Conor Leach and Judy Hainsworth.

A fashion show that Molloy masterminds offers him something to look forward to in Fourteen. Left to right: Leon Cain, Conor Leach and Judy Hainsworth. Credit: David Fell

“He is still teaching,” Molloy says – but not at St Brendan’s. In fact, the Yeppoon school has had a culture shift to the extent where a recent incident had the principal emailing parents to recommend they buy and read Fourteen.

“The school feels bad about what happened back then. They now have programs making all kids feel welcomed and supported, and they recognise that things need to continue to change.”

Molloy says his story could have easily had a tragic ending, like that of Tyrone Unsworth, a 13-year-old student of Aspley State High School who died by suicide in 2016 after years of bullying.

According to the Queensland Family and Child Commission, suicide was the leading external cause of death for young people aged 10-14 years over the five years from 2017 to 2022.

Molloy says the point of the show is offering hope: “To really drive home the message that it always gets better.

“All young people, regardless of what they’re struggling with, deserve to feel safe and secure in their communities and their homes and in their schools.”

If you or anyone you know needs help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 (and see or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 (and see

Fourteen plays at the Cremorne Theatre, QPAC, June 12-July 6; then on to Townsville (July 11), Maryborough (July 17), Toowoomba (July 19), Rockhampton (July 24), Gladstone (July 26), Mackay (July 30), Gold Coast (Aug 2), Adelaide (Aug 7-10), Darwin (Aug 15-16), Cairns (Aug 23), Launceston (Aug 27) and Geelong (Aug 30-31).